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the peasant's; but, from his great and numerous cares, it is frequently otherwise ; and often, uneasy is the head that wears a crown. Indeed, honour and ease are sel. dom united. A contented mind, however, and a good conscience, will make a man happy in all conditions.
21. We may learn patience and contentment, as one has remarked, by making a right use of our eyes--that is, we may look up to heaven, and remember that our chief business here, is to get there ; then look down to the earth, and call to mind how small a space we shall occupy in it, when we come to die and be interred; then look abroad on the world, and see what multitudes there are, who are more unhappy than ourselves. Thus we shall learn where true happiness is found, where all our cares must end, and how little reason we have to repine or complain.
22. The hares, being kept for some time in great alarm, by a noise in the woods, became weary of their life, and ran together to a lake, with a view to throw themselves headlong ; but on coming to the bank, they saw the frogs, that had been frightened at their approach, hurrying away for safety to the green rushes.
Oh,” says one of the hares, “ there are other crea. tures, too, who are plagued with the fear of mischief. We will therefore bear with our life, like the rest.”
23. It is coward-like for a rational creature, such as man, by a voluntary death, to run away from this world's ills, which, at the very worst, will soon blow over; and to rush into the presence of his judge, uncalled, is awful madness. But though men, when much crossed or distressed, may sometimes seem to wish for death, they seldom bid him welcome, when he stares them in the face. Once on a time, as the fable says, a feeble old man, being quite spent with carrying
a burden of sticks, which, with much labour, he had gathered in a wood, called upon death to come and release him from his fatigues. Death was instantly at his elbow, and asked him what he wanted. Frighted and trembling at the unlooked for appearance of the grim king, he now repented of his former wish, and replied—“Oh, sir, my burden had like to have slipped from me, and I beg your assistance to replace it on my shoulders.”
24. We must learn to endure a present evil, least a greater befall us, and not murmur at providence, who frequently, in wisdom as well as mercy, denies our requests. From our ignorance and rashness, we often wish for what would ruin us, like the infant that would fondly take the flame into its mouth, or like the heathen herdsman, who, on missing a heifer out of his grounds, prayed to his god Pan" Shew me, O Pan, the villain who has robbed me, and I will give thee in sacrifice the finest kid from my flock." He had scarcely uttered his petition, when, turning a corner, he was struck with the sight of a monstrous lion preying on the carcase of his heiser. Dreading that the consequence of his prayer would now be fatal to himself, he cried out—"O Pan, I offered thee a kid, if thou wouldst shew me the thief; I now promise thee a cow, if thou wilt take him away, or deliver me from him."
25. We must weigh our words well, no less than our actions, and think before we speak; for a word once let go, is not to be recalled ; and, of much speaking cometh repentance, but in silence is safety. The untamed tongue is a world of iniquity. It disgraces its owner, gives offence to his friends, and often hardens itself against the Almighty. It is better to lose one's
joke than one's friend; and to scoff at the word, or find fault with the works and ways of our Maker, is a dangerous practice and a strong proof of folly. A man was once sitting, in a murmuring mood, under the shade of an oak, while at his side the weak branches of a pumpion were trailing on the ground. “Is it not absurd,” said he, “ that so strong and stately a tree as this should be made to bear so worthless and small a fruit as an acorn, while the weak stem of the pumpion is loaded with a weight that is out of all proportion?" Just at this moment down dropped an acorn from one of the highest branches of the oak, full upon his head; but, on account of its lightness, it did him no injury. This overturned his reasoning entirely, and he could not help crying out--" Oh, how I spoke like a fool, for it is most well and wisely ordered that this was not a pumpion.”
26. A hungry and unhappy owl, one day in her hole, was finding fault with the sun for shining so brightly, and complained that, on his account, she could not venture abroad, but must shut herself up and do nothing every day for a great many hours. “ It were better,” she said, “ that there were no sun at all.” “ Yes," said a bird that, in passing by, had overheard her complaint, " you must be a very sensible creature indeed, who would propose that the world should stand still, and all the labour and industry of man should be stopped, merely that an owl may catch mice.”
27. Æsop, the famous fabulist, who, being a heathen, believed in more gods than one, relates that a young raven, after rioting in robbery and murder, once became sick, and fearing he was to die, he said to his mother-" O mother, pray to the gods for me." But
she, answering, said." Which of the gods, O son, would pity you; for you have robbed their altars, and offended them by your crimes, all your life long !" So they who offend the Most High, by taking his name in vain, or by fighting, or lying, or cheating, or stealing, should ask themselves how they can expect any help or any favour at his hand, in the time of their distress, and when they come to die. By being laid on a bed of sickness, we are compelled, as it were, to look up to heaven'; but thither the wicked must look with alarm, for they know that when vice goes before, vengeance will follow. Though Justice has leaden feet, she has iron hands. There is no coward like an ill conscience; but a safe conscience makes a sound sleep, and peace with heaven is the best friendship. Let then our life be the life of the righteous, and our latter end will be like his.
28. A lynx, observing a mole concealed under a hillock of her own raising, said "Poor creature, I pity thee much. What a life thou dost lead, with hardly any eyes, and for ever shut out from the light of the day. It would be doing thee service to put an end to thy comfortless existence.” No, no,” said the mole, “ I thank you for your kindness, but I have all the comfort and happiness that my circumstances require. I have not, it is true, your piercing eyes; but I have ears, which answer all my purposes fully as well. Hark, for example-I am warned by a noise which I hear behind you, to fly from danger.” So saying, the mole slunk into the earth, while a javelin, from the arm of a hunter, pierced this quick sighted lynx to the heart. Thus every condition has its own advantages, and every
heart knoweth its own grief. Almost every object that we look at, has its dark and its bright side; and, by always looking at the one, we become cheerful and happy; but, by preferring to view the other, we sour our temper, and become gloomy and miserable. The poor man who, having food and raiment, feels that he has enough, is certainly happier, and may be said to be richer, than the covetous man, who, the more he has, desires the more, and in the midst of plenty thinks that he is poor.
29. When we cannot bring our condition to our mind, we may bring our mind to our condition, and learn to be content, which is the art of being happy. A fox, when he was pursued by a pack of dogs, hid himself
among brambles, where he felt exceedingly happy at his escape from the dogs, but was very much pained by the thorns and prickles on every side. Here, however, he lay till the danger was over, thinking with himself thus-"I find, there is no rose without a thorn-no joy without alloy, No bliss is perfect, for good and evil are ever mixed; but, for the sake of the good, I will bear the evil with patience. Every bitter has its sweet, and these brambles, though they wound my flesh, preserve my life.”
30. A farmer, when dying, told his sons, that they would find a treasure concealed in the farm, if they would search for it carefully. He would not tell them the spot where it lay, but he assured them, that if they took pains to discover it, their labour would be well rewarded. Accordingly, after harvest, they went to work, and turned up again and again every foot of the soil, but never lighted on the gold which they looked for. Their lands, however, yielded a far more plentiful
crop than those of their neighbours; and, on computing their great profits at the end of the year, one of them said " I could venture a wager that this was